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Bukhara Resturant… Next level service @ ITC Maurya

Last night I discovered the true meaning of a sensational evening. It began with a couple of drinks at the lounge in the lobby after a long day of demonstrations, introductions and travel to various training departments all over Delhi.
Upon entering it became very prevalent that having Australian High Commission on our hotel booking was a big deal. We were seated at a “promised” table, served our gin and whisky large by a waiter that was attentive beyond belief, smile that could warm a room and one of the kindest people I had encountered on my travels.
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He not only made sure we received the very best of service, constantly refilling our accompanying snacks and drinks alike, each drink poured with class, the large glasses and the leather chairs raised above the rest of the bar all added to the experience.
We had made plans to have dinner at Bukhara, one of the top ten indian restaurants in the world. It was booked out each night with over a 2h wait for a table. Upon mentioning our desire to dine at this reputable Resturant, unsure if it was the Chefs jackets that myself and Josh still had on or if it was our reservation status in the hotel but they made Magic happen and made a table free for us. As we walked into this enchanting Resturant with an open kitchen, glass only thing separating the chef from the guest, our waiter from the lounge greeted us with our drinks all service which I had never experienced before. We then met with the manager of the Resturant Arjun Deep Shad, who treated us to a walk through the of the kitchen, meeting the chefs and learning about the kebabs and the Dahl that is cooked for 11h prior to service.

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Our waiter in the Resturant had over 20 years experience, he was diligent, informative and we made it even more exciting by leaving the ordering in his capable hands.
So it begun with Papadums with a yogurt and a masala spice, then the Tandoori Jhinga jumbo prawns marinated in a “ajwain” mixture of yogurt, turmeric, red Chilli and Garam Massla. I won’t lie when I say you haven’t lived until your taste buds have experienced such a delectable dish.

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That was followed by Sikrandari Raan, a whole leg of melt in your mouth lamb chargrilled in the “earthen oven”, also tried the Katstoori Kebab and the best butter naan and onion naan you could ever imagine. I will never order naan again, nothing compares, the lamination, crispness and textural perfection is second to none.

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Finally dessert was served, an assortment of traditional indian dessert plates, All leaving my Taste buds tantalized, my heart warm from the service and best of all a night that has been imprinted into my head for many years to come. Upon leaving we were given a gift of a specially designed apron that had made to celebrate 35 years, we had photos and left feeling so proud to be a chef/baker/guest at the hotel IHC, New Delhi.

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Exceeded expectations and a learning curve like no other…

If I could describe today in one word I would, however it was such an inspiring journey on an intellectual, emotional and mental level. Who could have thought a 22h day across three cities in India could be so rewarding.
It began with a 3am departure from Taj Lands End, Mumbai and on the way to the airport I realise I have left my passport locked in the safe. I quickly had to turn the driver round on the highway and was a race against the clock to get to the airport ontime, thanks to the lack of road rules here in India that was possible just close your eyes and hope for the best.
We then arrived in Aurangabad, greeted by the friendly team from The Institute of Hotel Management. We were taken to Another stunning hotel that we agreed looked like something out of Eat Pray Love the movie, with swings on the balcony and hammocks by the pool with the most stunning well kept gardens you have seen.

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After a quick 7am swim and a welcome breakfast sampling some of the finest indian cuisine we then proceeded to the institute where we welcomed the traditional way even with a bunch of roses bigger than any boyfriend has ever given me.
We then had an extensive guided tour of the brilliant facility that has over 600 students, that all live eat and breathe the 72 week course in Hon diploma of Culinary Arts. Each room tells a story, there is the seniors kitchen and the juniors kitchen, the classrooms that are all air conditioned, data enabled with the latest technology, to the library that is the pride and joy of the institute it has more books on cookery that I have ever seen, the selection and quality of resources blew me away. I was fortunate enough to receive a disk with so many exquisite bakery/dessert e-books on it, one of the kindest gifts I have ever received. They say behind every good student is a good teacher, that here is never been more prevalent, but what also must be said is behind ever good institute is a dedicated principal. It demonstrated us the benefits of caring for every students needs, catering for them emotionally, physically and educationally.

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The demonstrations went off without a hitch, Jessica in Resturant service, Joshua in the kitchen all microphoned up live streaming to other students in the auditorium and myself in the bakery with many eager students ready like sponges to soak up any information I could bestow upon them. Check out Joshua’s fan page, he just won Gold at Worldskills Australia at the National level and just has been announced on the squad to compete on the world stage Brazil 2015.

https://www.facebook.com/Truefoodaustralia

In The bakery we made french baguettes, focaccia and some small dinner rolls. I showed them my techniques verse theirs. We then was treated to a 4 course traditional Indian buffet lunch, sampling spices, breads and curries all with extensive explanations on each dish.
Joshua learnt the hard way that the green pepper spice is mind blowing hot. Could see steam coming out of his ears and tears of pain from his eyes.

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We then departed to the airport where you wouldn’t believe it handed our boarding passes on the tarmack and our bags checked in on our behalf. As I have been told the impossible is possible here in India. After a flight where I couldn’t understand the safety instructions, I had my electronic devices on the whole time, food service that I didn’t even want to look at and an almost lost in transit bag at the other end. Then after a hilarious ride from the airport, think lack of sleep and people selling airplanes at the traffic lights and some off road driving we made it to our hotel and enjoyed my third buffet of the day.
I cannot go past the sheer kindness of the people at IHM in Aurangabad, the students whom inspired me to want to perfect my trade even more and how fortunate I am to be part of such an elite group of individuals that have made it this trip even more memorable that I could have imagined.

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A day in the life….

Today was a whirlwind experience to say the least. In one day I managed to have a private yoga lesson by the pool at a luxury hotel in Mumbai, teach the Minister of Industry for Australia Hon Ian Macfarlane how to plait bread dough, meet with many other dignitaries from India including ministers and the like, indulge myself in a my first spa body ritual and now taken myself out for a proper indian meal in the depths of Mumbai with even my own courtesy driver… Oh did I mention I was also on a Current Affair on Australian National TV today?

http://aca.ninemsn.com.au/article/8928245/landmark-deal-for-australias-public-housing

One thing my life isn’t short of is fascinating life changing experiences. I’m very blessed to be traveling amongst a superbly talented group of professionals who not only display talent, humbleness and grace but showcase Australia’s talent and extensive skill sets with ease.

We were in attendance at the 3rd Annual Australia and India Skills Conference, held at Taj Lands End Mumbai, India. We were there to demonstrate during lunch to the dignitaries and other guests from both countries alongside counterparts from India who too displayed their talents.
As I said both ministers were in attendance and I was fortunate enough to meet with them and even give a demonstration that was been filmed for Indian TV. Such an honour and stepping stone in my life, been on the world stage, even just having your photo in the brochure for the event was a thrill then there is the people wanting photos with us like superstars that I will never get used to.

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So after the rush of the day I spoilt myself to an hour or two with some Lovely spa services here at the Taj Hotel Lands End.

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I highly suggest if you have time while away even for business to indulge in such a treatment I feel brighter on the inside and outside and I now have found a new way to keep me still… A Body wrap they tuck you in so tight you carnt move for the duration, a rarity for someone as busy as myself.

I then full of enlightenment decided to take myself out for dinner, I asked for where to go and was treated to a courtesy car from the stunningly beautiful concierge at reception. I don’t know if she was worried I wouldn’t get there alive or she was acting out of women kindness either way I felt like a bit of a rockstar I shut up and savored the moment.

I was taken to this fabulous modern Indian resturant, where I sampled Vada Paos, street food with garam masala, Main of Tandoori Salmon with cheese nann and a Dahl Makhani and finished with hazelnut Karanjis which were melt in the mouth want more to die for delish on the palette. So much for the diet…

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Finally I ventured out into the night markets having always fascinated with bindis as a kid I treated myself to some for old time sake, I found a fantastic dessert cake shop and got my own little sampling session.
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Walked away with some take me home Indian delights , got myself into a tuk tuk back to the hotel alive which is a bonus because as I learnt the impossible is possible here in India and now to sleep and onto the next adventure…. Aurangabad!!

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Picture this

So last night we ventured out into the depths of Mumbai markets, I have discovered that getting anywhere is an exhilarating adrenalin rush in a tuk tuk and is sometimes more fun than the destination.
The streets are lined with half finished buildings some with inhabitants not fazed by the lack of well any creature comforts. Along the roadside are markets with shoe after shoe, dress for dress, bag for bag and then your surrounded by anywhere up to five men with cases of rings, bags of sunglasses and even shoelaces, yes there is a roaring trade of almost everything here.
The roads are less than desirable big boulders sticking out, mass excavation looks to be common practice along with one man sitting concreting an area smaller than a meter, a sign of the sheer resilience of these people. The traffic is incredible to say the least, no organisation, total disregard for any form of road rules, stop means go, no right turn means push through oncoming traffic and roundabouts appear to be a large problem here.
It’s such a contrast when your walking and you come across the perfectly designed fruit stall, then a small Bo’s serving an unknown form of street food, the empty cafes followed by the hidden gem of a resturant that we visited last night. One that serves New Zealand premium wine, mains like those you could find in the best restaurants in Sydney CBD and about 3 wait staff per guest.
Even amongst the kaos, the thick heat and the vast difference in cultural practices I have found that the small moments such as seeing a young girl dressed beautifully in her school uniform walking out of a derelict house utterly touching. I have found that beyond the stares from the men as you walk down the street it’s the smile you get from the traditionally dressed women, the wave from the young child across the street and the sheer kindness and humility of these people uplifting and spiritual in so many ways. IMG_2018.JPG

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6th Global Summit Skill Development 2014

Today I am a guest at the global experience-linking skills with productivity conference held at Taj Lands End, Mumbai India. Countries represented include Australia, Canada and Sri Lanka.

It is a Confederation of Indian Industry held event that highlights the importance of skills training in India to cater for the growing population and for a brighter future. With over 1 million people joining the workforce every month, it’s of great importance to share knowledge, skills and resources between India and Australia, making it a very integral partnership with the Australian Government.
The Hon Ian Macfarlane MP, Minister for Industry, Australian Government is in attendance having just presented a very informative speech about the importance of the partnership between the two countries.

Here are some photos of the event. More to follow.

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Media profile

Lots of filming lately at Grain Organic Bakery. From the likes of the Skills Road website, to TAFE NSW for the ambassador program, topped off with A Current Affair, channel 9 still get to go to air.

I thought to upload some pictures taken from the shoots. For further details check back in regularly for more information.

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Sydney to Mumbai

Today I head to Mumbai, India for the first time. I’m traveling as an Australian Delegate for the India/Australia Skills Conference. It’s here I will be representing the Australian Training Awards and presenting a demonstration on stage showcasing Australia’s talent and Worldskills to India on an international platform.

I will be sure to update while I am over there daily to keep you in the loop of the definite culture shock I’m about to encounter. I am as prepared as I can be, all vaccinations done, malaria (heaven forbid) tablets sorted, a mental note to avoid Mosquitos at all costs and to be sure to keep my mouth closed in the shower. High level of caution is to be executed at all times and one must Remember where she is.

As I sit here in transit my mind is spinning with what the next seven days are sure to bring. The excitement of the unknown is yet upon me, it’s strangely familiar, endlessly daunting and awfully exhilarating all at the same time.